A clinical laboratory offers a wide variety of services relating to the testing of clinical specimens obtained from patients. These test help health professionals to acquire information and analyze health status of patients so that they can administer relevant treatment and preventive measures. Different tools, equipments and units in a clinical laboratory have diverse functions depending on the nature of the specimen under analysis. This ensures that health professionals acquire accurate information on a specimen whether it relates to units such as microbiology, virology, hematology, toxicology or immunology (Griffin & Snook, 2006). A clinical laboratory provides information that confirms the signs and symptoms a patient exhibits.
As an entity within which biological and chemical test occur, a clinical laboratory is subject to the influence of environmental factors such as contaminants, sunlight and temperature. Contaminants such as chemicals and air-borne pathogens pose the threat of interfering with laboratory results (McClatchey, 2002). Exposure of specimen such as lipids and enzymes used in clinical biochemistry to excessive sunlight is likely to lead to a variation in test results and thus influencing the administration of medical care. Sunlight level affects the analysis of specimen such as urine whose color is a key indicator of a patient’s health. Most test reagents give optimal results within a particular temperature range (Cowan, 2003). When temperature exceeds the recommended range, clinical results may become unreliable.
A clinical laboratory serves a wide variety of stakeholders within the context of healthcare. Physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals rely on the information obtained from a clinical laboratory to determine the appropriate course of action concerning a patient. In the event of a surgery, a patient undergoes various tests to ascertain his or her suitability to undergo a certain medical procedure (Carson et al., 2007). Medical exercise such as vaccination, which governments and various NGOs support, undergo testing to establish their effectiveness concerning the prevention of a certain pandemics.